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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. O. Westwood   4 September [1861]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Sept. 4th

My dear Sir

I thank you cordially for all the great trouble, which you have so kindly taken for me.— Positively I have never seen your paper by Morren, or heard of its existence, except in your previous note.—2 I will write to Gardeners’ Chron. & see whether Lindley knows.—3

I do not possess Todds Cyclop. of Phy. &c:4 is there an article on the fertilisation of Orchids?

I received last night the two Sphexes, & I thank you much for so kindly sending them; but unfortunately the pollen-masses do not belong to Orchids (I have removed only one) but to Asclepias, which abounds in N. America, & requires, equally with Orchids, insect-aid.—5

I am really sorry to trouble you, but how can I return the insects if not by Post? Shall I leave them at the British Museum in Dr Gray’s hands, addressed to you, when I next go to London?6 But I shall not be in London for a month or two.— When you write to tell me what to do, will you tell me about Todd.—

With many thanks | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter from J. O. Westwood, 26 September 1861.
See letter to J. O. Westwood, 15 August [1861].
See the first letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle, [before 14 September 1861]. The botanist John Lindley was the editor of the Gardeners’ Chronicle.
Robert Bentley Todd edited The cyclopedia of anatomy and physiology (1835–59).
CD had asked Westwood to send him specimens of insects with orchid pollen-masses attached to their probosces (see letter to J. O. Westwood, 15 August [1861]). Sphex is a genus of solitary wasp.
John Edward Gray was keeper of the zoological collection of the British Museum.


Is certain he never had Morren’s paper from JOW or heard of it before JOW’s note; will write to Gardeners’ Chronicle about it [see 3252].

Thanks for the two Sphinx moths; unfortunately the pollen-masses do not belong to orchids but to Asclepias.

Asks whether R. B. Todd’s Cyclopedia of Anatomy and Physiology [1835–59] has an article on fertilisation of orchids.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Obadiah Westwood
Sent from
Source of text
Oxford University Museum (Hope Entomological collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3243,” accessed on 22 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9